The Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) approved $400 to fund an upcoming student survey at their meeting on Oct. 30. The survey, which would be the first of its kind to survey students from all seven of Emory’s graduate schools, deals with the demographics of the graduate student population, as well as the role students would like GSGA to play within the graduate student community. 

Vice President of External Affairs Aaron Blakney (20PH) described the survey as a tool to improve graduate student policy using “more data so that we can better make our case to school officials.”

This funding will be used partly to incentivize students to respond to the survey; a total of $200 will be distributed randomly to respondents this semester in the form of an unspecified number of gift cards. The other $200 will go toward general marketing and a possible live event held in the Spring to encourage participation in the survey. This leaves GSGA with $14,600 in funding for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

The 30-question survey is 95 percent complete and is set for release this Friday. The survey will run until Dec. 13, according to Blakney. 

Blakney described a response rate of about 15 to 20 percent as being a realistic target for the survey.

Although the survey has been approved, some GSGA members raised concerns about a low response rate, which could negatively impact the efficacy of the survey. 

Gilda Rastegar (23M), a GSGA representative from the School of Medicine, also raised concerns about a potential disparity in response rate between different graduate schools. There were fears that students at the School of Medicine, due to their low rate of residency on campus and erratic hours, would have a lower rate of response as compared to students of a more residential school such as the Candler School of Theology.

Although the survey was described as “experimental,” GSGA members expressed hopes that, if successful, it could become a biannual process.